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Old 06-08-2012, 12:49 PM   #1
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Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

We left Arcata on May 24 for a 12 day, 2500 mile tour of Nevada, southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon.

My usual neat and tidy packing job.

Ready to roll.

All Aboard.

The first day we made it as far a the west edge of Lassen NF to a spot we've used a couple of times.
Here's Sherri checking out my new reclining camp chair.

We had remarked on how this was the first time we'd been there without any snow around. Sure enough, that night we got a light dusting. It was beautiful in the morning blowing out of the trees under a clear blue sky.

1st destination - Las Vegas to visit family.

From the Lassen we headed to Susanville, down 395 to Reno, east to Fernley and down 95 to Vegas.

We started looking for a spot to camp somewhere past Hawthorne. We spotted a name on the map about 12 miles east of Sodaville. Eddyville, NV. One of the dogs is named Eddy so naturally we had to see it. The road wound around the south flank of Pilot Mts and up a dry wash to 7600'.

Eddyville consists of 2 flattened structures and some assorted junk on a 1 acre flat spot where 2 gullies converge. It won't make my top ten list of Nevada ghost towns.

As we were settling in for the evening it started to blow and snow. We weren't too concerned - I mean "How much can it snow in the middle of Nevada at the end of May?" The answer turns out to be about 6".

The north 1/2 of Eddyville. The south 1/2 looks about the same.

The road out.

The next day we made it to Vegas and hung out for a couple of days.
On Monday - Memorial Day - we headed north on 95 almost to Indian Springs, turned north east on Morman Well Rd through the Desert National Wildlife Range. 47 miles of rough road that goes through at least 4 distinct eco zones.

We hit Hwy 93 and headed north. At Crystal Springs, we switched to State Hwy 318 thru Hiko toward Ely. That night we camped off the road at White River Narrows. The next morning we got to Ely, turned west on 50 to Eureka and then north on State 278 to Carlin on I80. From Carlin we continued north on Maggie Creek Rd on the way to Tuscarora. About 4pm we turned of the main road for a couple of miles up into an area that had burned recently - probably last year.

The weather was mild and almost bug free so we opened a tarp and dragged our mattress out on the ground for a night under the stars. Too much moon for good star gazing but still fun.

In the morning I took a little walk and spotted a lone, very pregnant antelope about 1/2 mile off. She was probably looking for a spot to give birth. Sherri walked in the other direction and coming over a little ridge spotted 5 antelope in the bottom of a draw. The antelope seemed very nervous and kept looking around but not at Sherri who was down wind of them. Then she noticed 2 coyotes stalking the herd, one on each side. That's what had the antelope spooked. She wanted to watch what unfolded but when the dogs that were with her caught scent of the coyotes they kicked up a fuss and the whole scene exploded with wildlife running off in all directions.

End of Part 1 - More soon...

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Old 06-15-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Sounds Great!
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:57 PM   #3
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Spring Trip 2012 - Part 2

Continuing up Maggie Cr. Rd. from Carlin to Tuscarora we came across the fresh severed fore leg of an antelope in the middle of the road. No sign of the rest of the carcass. Odd.

We also happened upon a lone cowboy herding a couple dozen cattle thru the sage. Nothing in the scene would have been out of place 130 yrs ago.

We reached Tuscarora about 10am and walked around town snapping a few pictures before visiting the Tuscarora Pottery School run by Dennis and Julie Parks and their son Ben.

Some works by Ben Parks. I just love this stuff...

Mystic in a Mist

Blood of the Lamb

The Mu Shoe

The pottery kilns

Leaving the art world behind, we drove up Hwy 226 as far as Jack Creek and turned east on FR473.
Intended destination was Jarbidge NV, home of the Sagebrush rebellion.

Here's evidence of some busy beaver work...

Near Jack Creek Summit

Two antelope and the back end of a cow.

We reached the Charleston-Jarbidge road at Bruneau Meadows in the headwaters of the Bruneau River and turned north again.

Stopped to shoo this gopher snake off the road so he wouldn't get flattened. I think he had just finished his lunch.

He was happy in the sun and not inclined to move.

A yellow headed black bird

From a distance this lake of flowers really looked like open water.

We made it up as far as Bear Cr Summit at about 8500' elevation, about 7 miles from Jarbidge when we came to a snow drift that filled the whole road prism. It was about 8' deep on the uphill side - nothing short of a rotary show plow could get thru it. We had already punched thru a bunch of 1 and 2 foot drifts in the last mile.

We had to back up about 1/2 mile before we could turn around and we retreated back a couple of miles to Coon Creek Summit to spend the night.

Can you spot the van?

Here it is.

In the morning we backtracked about 40 miles to get to the road to Mountain City and Owyhee. Except for the Motel/Cafe, Mountain City is boarded up and for sale. No groceries or fuel. On to Owyhee. We fueled up and asked about other routes into Jarbidge. 3 different people gave us the classic 'You can't get there from here.' answer so we scratched Jarbidge off the list for this trip.

Next destination was Oregon and the Steens Mt area. In order to cross the Owyhee River, we had to go up as far as Mountain Home, ID and then back SW thru Jordan Valley and Rome, OR. We spent a night at a fishing campground on the Snake river at the mouth of the Bruneau River. In the morning while we weren't watching, the dogs got into a bag with some pills and we couldn't figure out what if anything they had eaten. So... we spent the rest of the morning at a Vets office in Nampa getting them checked out.

After a long day, we made it to our first Oregon destination - Willow Creek Hot Springs.

Willow Creek Hot Springs with sunbeams and virga

Sherri at the spring.

The morning soak.

A mid morning hike w/dogs

Coyote head.

Laundry Day

The springs campground was so nice that we spent another day there. By then the weather forecast was calling for 2 days of rain showers and snow at high elevation so we scratched Steens Mt off the list for this trip and turned toward home via Hart Mt antelope refuge.


And more antelope...

By the time the trip was over, we'd seen so many antelope that we quit pointing them out to each other along side the road.

Near Plush, OR we ran into this horse roadblock. They were searching vehicles for oats.

For an end-of-trip treat, we went down to Cedarville, CA and stayed at the Surprise Valley Hot Spring resort. It's a good thing we did because although we didn't know it at the time, the penthouse was already broken (See my 'what went wrong' posting). Camping out would have been a drag without the top up. Here's one last picture of a couple of bald eagles near Cedarville. A 3-4 year old on the Lt and an adult on Rt.

FWIW - here's a partial list of birds and assorted wildlife that Sherri recorded in her notes. Some duplications.

Maggie Creek Road to Tuscarora:
Genuine cowboy! And cattle.
Coyotes (2) circling 5 pronghorn in a sage/meadow swale.
Black-throated Sparrow
Horned Lark
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Screech Owl
Horned Lark
Common Grackle
Flycatcher species
Freshly gnawed pronghorn leg
Sandhill Crane Juvenile
Gopher Snake – full stomach
Red-shafted Flicker

Western Kingbirds
Bullock’s Oriole
American Kestral eating mouse on wire
Brewer’s Blackbirds

Tuscarora to Charleston:
Jack Creek Camp, lunch stop, riparian by creek:
Bulluck’s Oriole, 2 males
Lewis’s Woodpecker, male
Yellow Warblers, many males
Wilson’s Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler, very brown
Green-tailed Towhee Male, singing
American Robin
Red-winged Blackbird
Gray Partridge

Jack Creek Summit:
Golden Eagle chased by adult, male Northern Harrier
Tree Swallows
White-collared Dove
Mourning Doves

Bull Elk, new growing antlers. Very Reddish, even rump. Magnificent animal. Ran ahead of van
through sage, then crossed the road in front of us an went out of sight.

Charleston-Bruneau River Headwaters:
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red-shafted Flicker
Mountain Bluebird

Coon Creek Summit camp (8400 ft):
Mt. Bluebird pair
Cassin’s Finch, male and female
Audubon’s Warbler, male
American Robins, lots of them
Clark’s Nutcracker

Coon Summit to Charleston:
Tree Swallows
Red-shafted Flickers
Audubon’s Warblers
Sage Thrasher
Meadow Lark

Bruneau Meadows:
Sandhill Cranes, 2 adults and 1 chick
Black-winged Blackbirds
Ravens (they’ve been on all of our routes)
Brewer’s Blackbirds
Northern Harrier

-----stopped listing for a few days----
June 3 - Warner Wetlands:
White-faced Ibis, Many, adults and a few juveniles
Sandhill Cranes
Prairie Falcon

June 4 - Surprise Valley:
Bald Eagles, Adult and 4 year old on dry lakebed.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Nice trip report. I like the wildlife photos.

Seeing reports like this has me green with envy. I NEED to get out more!

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Willow Creek is also called Whitehorse Ranch hot spring. A sublime soak for me cause you can sort of flop over that divider from the hot to the warm section endlessly and just soak the day away. Also, it's always nice to have a BLM pit toilet on hand.

Hart Mountain has a nice soak in the campground, as well. A very pleasant concrete tub that's not super hot and then a much hotter shallow pit soak about 100 yards off. Never camped there, but plan to.

Also near Whitehorse are Alvord and Bog hot springs, both great soaks.

And someplace with cabins or hookups and an amazing hot pond is Crane, or Crystal Crane in, you guessed it, Crane, Oregon.

I need to get off this East Coast, where the only hot water is in my bathtub.


Great report. Thank you.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Just Great
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

I really enjoyed that. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #8
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Re: Spring Trip 2012 - Nevada, Oregon - Part 1

Great stuff; thanks.

If you like that area, take a rafting trip down the Owyhee from Rome to Birch Creek. It's a great trip; although doable in a few days it's nice to take even more time. Some class III, with great campsites and hot springs. You wouldn't suspect it from the terrain, but it passes through some tight, vertical gorges with really high walls.

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